Archive for August, 2018

Aug 8 2018

Qantas cancels freighter plane

Qantas has ditched plans to add a near-new Boeing 747 freighter aircraft to its fleet, due to continued weakness in the international air-cargo market.

The latest figures from the peak airline body show that while the global air-freight market grew modestly in July, cargo demand in the Asia-Pacific region fell 1.4 per cent, due partly to sluggish business activity in China.

Qantas had intended to take on the freighter this year, to replace a contract it has with US air-cargo company Atlas Air to lease an older jumbo and crew – known as a wet lease.

A wet lease Qantas has on another Atlas Air jumbo is also up in 2015.

The freighter was to have been painted in the Qantas livery.

Last week Qantas’s annual results gave an insight into the weak state of the freight market. Its freight division booked a 20 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to $36 million in the year to June, which the airline said reflected an 11 per cent fall in its international cargo capacity.

Qantas took full control of air-cargo business Australian Air Express late last year after an asset-swap deal which involved Australia Post buying the airline’s half share of road-freight business Star Track Express.

Its freight unit now has 13 cargo aircraft including three 747s, one Boeing 767 used on the trans-Tasman route, and four 737 freighters.

A large portion of freight is also carried in the bellies of Qantas and Jetstar passenger jets.

Despite encouraging growth in Europe, International Air Transport Association boss Tony Tyler said the weakness in the Asia-Pacific region and a deteriorating political situation in the Middle East gave “ample reason for concern”.

“It is premature to say that air cargo may be emerging from the doldrums of the past 18 months,” he said.

This year, airlines in the Asia-Pacific region have experienced a 2 per cent fall in air freight.

The air-cargo market tends to be the canary in the coalmine for airlines. In the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008, demand for freight fell considerably further and more quickly than passenger traffic.

Deutsche Bank analysts have warned that the near-term outlook for the global air freight market, particularly on big export lanes in Asia, remains bleak because of an oversupply in capacity.

Airlines are expanding their fleets of large aircraft such as A380 superjumbos, which will boost capacity in what is considered an already oversupplied market.

Separately on Tuesday, Qantas released traffic statistics which show that yields – or return on fares – from its international operations fell in July, due to foreign airlines such as Singapore Airlines boosting capacity on routes to Australia in response to the alliance with Emirates.

Yields from domestic operations, including Jetstar, were flat in July, compared with the same month last year.

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Aug 8 2018

Qantas unveils new seats, pop-up restaurants

The new Qantas business class seats for the airline’s A330 aircraft. The Marc Newson-designed seats will allow passengers to remain reclining during take-off and landing.

Qantas is confident its new business-class seats unveiled recently will be the best in Australia and Asia.

The Marc Newson-designed seats are more like the sort of “private suites” found in some first-class cabins and convert to beds that lie totally flat. The seats have a Panasonic entertainment system with 16-inch screens, a large work table and generous storage area.

Passengers will be allowed to remain reclined during take-off and landing.

The seats will be introduced on the airline’s Airbus A330s flying east-west in Australia and to Asia from the end of next year.

Each seat in the staggered 1-2-1 configuration will have a high level of privacy and direct aisle access. They will also have Wi-Fi and an AC power socket.

“Qantas invented business class and these new business suites reflect what we know our customers want, whether they are flying for work or leisure,” chief executive Alan Joyce said.

“We have created a product that has enough space to dine while working or, if you want to rest, to leave the seat in a recline position from take-off to landing.”

New economy seats are also on the way for 10 A330s on international routes and refurbished economy seats for the 20 A330s on domestic routes.

The airline is also introducing a series of “pop-up” dining experiences at airports in Australia, starting with gourmet pies at its Sydney Qantas Club.

The pop-ups, with different food at each, will also appear in the Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth lounges throughout the year.

In Sydney between 3pm and 6pm on September 12, Qantas will serve Bert’s Pies, a creation by Alex Woolley, head chef at the two-hatted Sydney restaurant, est.

Hospitality and entertainment group Merivale held a competition among its chefs to create the ultimate meat pie and Woolley’s creation was judged the best.

Woolley said: “I’ve always believed that someone who truly loves pies makes the best pies. It took me, and the taste buds of est’s 17 chefs, three weeks and 80 pies to perfect our version using classic flavours and good quality ingredients”.

Qantas has not released details of the other pop-ups but the domestic executive manager, customer experience, Samantha Taranto, said: “Qantas has a great reputation for partnering with Australia’s best suppliers and challenging the notion of traditional airline food.

“Pop-up restaurants are just another way Qantas is pushing the boundaries in how they source, prepare and serve food to ensure customers enjoy a quality and unique dining experience while travelling.”

Meanwhile, Tigerair has introduced an in-flight menu that includes hot breakfast items for the first time.

The “Tiger Bites” menu includes hot bacon and egg turkish roll and freshly baked banana bread. Lunch items include a triple chicken club sandwich platter, and a feta and Mediterranean roast vegetable wrap.

Tigerair Australia commercial director Carly Brear said: “Our new menu may not have been designed by Neil Perry (Qantas’s consulting chef) nor is it served on designer plates, but it is designed with value and the customer in mind. Menu items start from just $4.

“Recently we launched a new-look website (meals can be ordered online) and mobile app and there are many more exciting changes to come over the coming months.”

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Aug 8 2018

Fiona Scott’s asylum-seeker comment the ‘silliest of the campaign’

Tony Abbott and Fiona Scott Tony Abbott and Fiona Scott

Fiona Scott suggested asylum seekers were making traffic worse and also exacerbating traffic queues. Photo: Screen grab, 4 Corners

Tony Abbott and Fiona Scott on the hustings in St Marys, western Sydney. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

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Immigration Minister Tony Burke says Liberal candidate Fiona Scott, who suggested that asylum seekers were causing road congestion and hospital delays in western Sydney, deserves the award for silliest comment of the election campaign.

“[Asylum seekers are] a hot topic here because our traffic is overcrowded,” Ms Scott, the candidate for Lindsay, told the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday.

When asked to explain her view, she said: “Go sit on the M4, people see 50,000 people come in by boat – that’s more than twice the population of [western Sydney suburb] Glenmore Park.”

During an immigration debate at the National Press Club on Tuesday, Mr Burke and opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison were asked whether they supported Ms Scott’s comments.

Mr Morrison leapt to her defence.

“I think what Fiona’s referring to I think is a broader population impact … [of] the population pressures on western Sydney and in places of Melbourne I think put real constraints on the cost of living,” he said.

“They put real constraints on the infrastructure that people can access and the services they can provide. I think Fiona has always been a passionate advocate for those things, and while the actual intake of refugees and asylum seekers into Australia is not as great as our general skilled migration program, the way that people are just frankly being dumped into the community by this government because the detention centres are full in a very unplanned way … I don’t think that’s the way to run a program.”

Mr Burke mocked Ms Scott’s remarks.

“The answer to your question is no. The comments would, I think, rate as some of the silliest of the election campaign, were it not for what Scott had said about [the] boat buy-back. The competition has been fierce. And it’s no surprise given what Scott said himself that he at least feels compelled to defend someone who says something a little bit less extreme.

“There are genuine issues in western Sydney that go to infrastructure, that go to planning … and more specifically with Sydney, of all of our cities, one where we keep putting the jobs at one end of the city and the houses at the other end of the city.

“But let’s be serious. In a context of the immigration program, where we’re dealing with 12 million people coming in and out every year – this is the cause of traffic? I think Scott deserves full marks as a loyal son of the Liberal Party for the answer that he just gave.”

Ms Scott, who is challenging Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury in Lindsay, came to prominence last month when Opposition Leader Tony Abbott controversially said she had “sex appeal”.

Asked about Ms Scott’s comments on Tuesday, Mr Abbott said he did not accept the reporter’s “characterisation” of her remarks, but accepted that asylum seekers were putting a strain on society.

“Obviously when you’ve got something like 50,000 illegal arrivals by boat that’s a big number,” Mr Abbott said at a press conference in Adelaide on Tuesday.

“We have all sorts of pressures that are created.”

The Opposition Leader then listed Australian towns that housed fewer people than the number of asylum seekers that had come by boat since Labor took power.

“The point of the matter is if we stop the boats we have less pressure on the budget,” Mr Abbott said.

“We have less pressure on our facilities for dealing with illegal arrivals, we have less pressure on our relationship with Indonesia.”

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said Ms Scott’s comments were “shockingly ignorant” and said there were only a few thousand refugees in the area.

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Aug 8 2018

WINE: De Iuliis buys Steven vineyard

THE De Iuliis family wine company has bought Steven vineyard, in Gillards Road, Pokolbin – the source of the fine Lindemans Steven shiraz wines of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The purchase of the 40-hectare property with its 11.5 hectares of vines was made three weeks ago from the Hunter Valley Gardens owners Bill and Imelda Roche.

De Iuliis has leased the vineyard since 2009 and before that from 2006 bought in the fruit for its Steven Vineyard Shiraz label wines.

It was a strategy that brought great wine show success, such as when the 2011 Steven Vineyard Shiraz won four trophies, including the best red, at the 2012 Hunter Valley Wine Show.

De Iuliis Wines chief executive officer-winemaker, Mike De Iuliis, told me last week he was delighted to acquire the vineyard, which had been considerably upgraded during the period of his company’s lease.

This work had been done by 2011 Hunter Viticulturist of the Year Liz Riley of the Vitibit consultancy, who would continue to manage the vineyard.

Mike said he hoped to extend the shiraz plantings and also to build a new house for his family on the site.

The De Iuliis operation was begun by Mike’s father Joss, whose family owned vineyards for generations in the Abruzzi area of central Italy.

In 1960 at the age of 10, Joss migrated to Australia with his family and as an adult spent 20years building Waratah Engineering business into a $50-million enterprise that included Waratah Hire, Newcastle Field Maintenance Service, HiPoint Personnel and Adams Pneumatics.

Youthful memories of members of his family working in vineyards in Italy gave him a deep interest in wine and in 1988 he bought land in Lovedale Road, Keinbah, and he, his wife Anna, his then-schoolboy son Mike and his parents Celeste and Maria planted a vineyard.

In 2000 the De Iuliises boosted their involvement in wine, buying the Mallees Cafe-Restaurant and the Butterflies Gallery, in Broke Road, Pokolbin. This was followed in 2001 by the planting of vines and the construction of a high-tech, multimillion-dollar winery, storage cellars and tasting and sales rooms on the The Gillards Road vineyard. This was originally owned by Herb Stevens, who sold it in 1967 to Lindemans, which called it Steven and produced the much-admired Lindemans Steven Vineyard shiraz reds.

Then, in its sad 2001 retreat from the Hunter, Lindemans sold it to Bill and Imelda Roche, who founded the Australian Nutri-Metics cosmetic business and sold it to America’s Sara-Lee Corporation in 1997 and subsequently established the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens Resort.

The Steven vineyard wines should not be confused with the prestigious Tyrrell’s Stevens shiraz and semillon, which are made from grapes grown on Pokolbin grower Neil Stevens’s Glenoak vineyard in Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin.

Neil, who also owns the Old Hillside vineyard in Marrowbone Road, is the nephew of the late Herb Stevens.

Sarah Crowe to leave Bimbadgen

SARAH Crowe, the 2009 Hunter Valley Wine Awards Rising Star of the Year, is leaving Bimbadgen Estate to become winemaker at Yarra Yering in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

Established at Coldstream in 1969 by Bailey Carrodus, Yarra Yering holds a five red star rating in James Halliday’s latest edition of Australian Wine Companion.

Sarah, 37, has been senior winemaker at Bimbadgen since 2010 and said last week it was a tough decision to leave the Hunter.

However, having had experience at Brokenwood with Beechworth wines, she was looking forward to working with the cool-climate Yarra Yering fruit.

Sarah’s wine career was triggered by a trip through some of the great vine regions of France, after which she contacted Brokenwood and arranged what was initially to be only a few weeks’ vine management study.

That led to a full-time job, a viticulture degree course at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and thereafter a transition into Brokenwood winemaking.

She became Brokenwood’s assistant winemaker, then moved to Swish Wines as chief winemaker and two years ago joined Bimbadgen.

She has done vintages overseas in Oregon, USA, and the Rhone Valley, France, and will begin work at Yarra Yering on September 16.

Aug 8 2018

NIBBLES: High tea at Hobarts

CROOK your pinkie finger, it’s time for high tea at Hobarts Restaurant at Wests New Lambton (88 Hobart Road, New Lambton).

Indulge in delicate sweets and delightful finger sandwiches prepared by head chef Aaron Campbell, served with a glass of Piper Heidsieck Champagne, or tea and coffee if you’d prefer. The beautiful table setting will feature Wedgwood Cornucopia china.

The finger sandwiches include the more traditional Tasmanian smoked salmon with dill, caper butter and mustard cress; cucumber sandwiches with chives and creme fraiche, and free-range chicken breast with spiced aioli and butter lettuce.

When it comes to sweets, Campbell’s changing selection includes a mixture of classics and modern creations ranging from scones to mini gateaux and pastries.

Think fluffy scones with house-made strawberry and champagne preserve and pure Jersey cream with vanilla, two-tone chocolate tart with white chocolate mousse and tempered chocolate, honey Chai cupcakes, and Baileys and chocolate fudge with gold leaf and passionfruit mousse.

The high tea, which runs from 2pm to 4pm on Sundays, costs $38 per person or $48 including a glass of Piper Heidsieck.

Bookings are essential as all sweets are freshly baked. Vegetarian and gluten-free options can be available at no extra cost; please advise any dietary requirements at the time of booking. Call 49351200 or visit hobarts苏州美甲学校.au.

Cyndi O’Meara visit

NUTRITIONIST and author of Changing Habits, Changing Lives, Cyndi O’Meara, is coming to Newcastle this weekend.

Unlike some nutritionists, O’Meara does not recommend low-fat, low-calorie diets. Instead her approach allows clients to ‘‘cheat’’ and see it as part of a balanced diet.

O’Meara, who credits her diet for never having taken an antibiotic, painkiller or any medication, uses her education and experience to try to help others improve their quality of life and enjoy greater health and longer lives.

She will be hosting A Day with Cyndi on Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, at Novotel Newcastle Beach.

The event is limited to 15 people and tickets for the entire day, and membership to the Healthy Living Club – which includes 20 per cent off all Changing Habits products and access to all O’Meara’s blogs, writing and 18 health reports for 12 months – is $597.

Sushi at Woolworths

A SUSHI bar has opened in Woolworths Mayfield, packed with everything from freshly made sushi to edamame, octopus salad and many more Japanese treats.

More sushi bars are also opening in coming weeks in Woolworth’s stores in Newcastle West, Glendale and Kotara.

Sunday at The Verandah

STUCK for ideas on a Sunday night? Head to The Verandah Restaurant’s (151 Palmers Lane, Pokolbin) Locals Night.

Each month the event – which is open to all – adopts a new theme, with the price including canapes and bubbles, followed by a five-course tapas-style degustation from 6.30pm. Cost is $50 per person, BYO with no corkage.

This Sunday is Saffron, Garlic and Olive night, while October 13 is German Night, November 3 is Spice Night and December 1 is being touted as Christmas Treats. Visitverandahrestaurant苏州美甲学校.au.

Chef Aaron Campbell with High Tea now at Hobart’s Restaurant at Wests New Lambton. Photo: Phil Hearne